Developing Habits

I was struggling a bit with a topic for the blog this week and you all almost ended up with my grocery list. *grins*

Ah, the “mundane” life. The life outside the story. I don’t know about other writers but I get a little caught up in whatever I happen to be working on. It makes life outside the page get a little foggy, almost dreamlike.

There is a necessity – for me – in taking some time off after I finish a project. A space for grounding, for peeling off the story and focusing on the mundane once again. I’m a big proponent of writing everyday so the focus shifts to journaling during these times, but there’s a need to just let the story stuff sit for a while in the back of my head. (Because make no mistake, it’s always there. Some days it’s just quieter than others.)

Taking a break, however, can be dangerous. A few days turns into a week, which slides into two, then three, then a month goes by in the blink of an eye. One can struggle to find the motivation to get moving again, to get writing and get back to it.

Then that doubt creeps in, the panic – “Can I do this?” “I’m no good.” “That last book was a fluke.” – all the other lovely, horrible things our brain loves to throw at us in the dark spaces.

I find the only way through this is to just start writing again. It might be utter crap. I might go through six different ideas and nothing will spark a fire in me to keep writing. None of it matters though. All that matters is at that point I’ve got my hands on the keyboard and I’m writing.

Funny thing is this works with pretty much everything in your life. Haven’t practiced your piano in a while? Just sit down and play, it might sound bad at first but the longer you play the better you’ll get. Haven’t run for a while? Get back out on the track (or trail or treadmill) and don’t stop until your time’s up.

This is the glory of good habits all you have to do is repeat them and after a while they stick to you like glue. Once a habit has been developed, it’s a lot harder to let go of. You might be able to take a little break … but at some point that itch in the back of your brain turns to madness and you really just have to get back to it.

K.B. Wagers

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11 responses to “Developing Habits

  1. Struggling to pick up the guitar again. I’ll remember for a day or two, then shazam! it’s a week later and I have to remind myself it won’t walk out of the closet and strum on its own.

    By the way, did you remember to bring home some eggs?

  2. Ha! What’s on your grocery list? Good post, writing is definitely a habit that is addictive, so once I do it, I don’t want to stop. Once I stop, I feel bad and need to do it again.
    Better than drugs though.
    eden

  3. The self doubt I can definitely relate to. I go through that frequently with my VA stuff, whether I can actually handle taken care of someone else’s business lol. I find coffee helps.

  4. Definitely habit – the more you write, the more you go to the gym, the more you read – whatever – the easier it is. But get out of the habit and you’re scuppered. It’s like starting all over again!

    But a month goes by so quickly you don’t even notice and then… it’s easy to go two or three or four. I seldom, if ever, do that with writing, but with the gym? No problem. Because I have no routine (three different jobs, not including the writing, and no scheduled time) means that I can’t say at the beginning of the week, oh, the gym this day… That’s my real problem.

    I think I’ll start with the whole walking an hour a day – I can do that any time.

    Kate

    • There you go, Kate!

      I do mine in the evenings because I do have a relatively set schedule. So I’m home, into workout clothes, and either running or in the basement before I can talk myself out of it. Now I look at the calender and I’m pretty impressed I’ve been consistent for almost five weeks! (to the point where I can put it off for an hour when I get home and still get it done)

      I’ve found it’s much easier for me now to consciously pick a “Rest” day and get back to it the next day without too much difficulty. 😛 Sometimes poking and prodding is required.

  5. I think your right, just start writing again. Writing is a craft or skill. And like all skills if you don’t do it for a while, you tend to be a little rusty when you start up again. But writing is like riding a bicycle, once you learn how, you never forget. You might wobble a little at first, but soon you’ll be able to ride with no hands. Maybe it has to do with muscle memory — is the brain a muscle? 😉

    Wally

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